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Peter Chang set to open new restaurant in Crystal City

Famed chef Peter Chang’s newest restaurant NiHao remains “on track” to open late this year or early next in Crystal City.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the 2022 James Beard Award finalist was planning on opening a second Arlington restaurant along Crystal Drive, right alongside Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and close to Amazon’s soon-to-open HQ2.

That remains the case with the restaurant hoping for a debut in the coming months, co-owner and Peter’s daughter Lydia Chang told ARLnow.

“We’re still on track to open NiHao Crystal City. Our team is working on obtaining the building permit. Will share more about the concept when we’re ready,” she wrote in an email.

The initial plan was for NiHao to be a bit different from the chef’s other local Arlington location, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. It would focus on a modern approach to Szechuan cuisine while providing an “introduction” to authentic Chinese food, Chang told DCist in February, much like the Baltimore location with the same name.

However, Chang’s recent comments to ARLnow also make it seem like the concept could be tweaked by the time it opens late this year or early next.

Peter Chang first began to amass an American following in the late 2000s. For much of his career up to that point, he was one of the most well-known chefs in China. In 2001, he moved to the United States with his family to work as the head chef for the Chinese ambassador. Two years later, he secretly fled the embassy with his wife (a pastry chef as well) and his young daughter.

He took jobs cooking at modest-looking Northern Virginia restaurants in an effort to keep a low profile, but soon his fame and delicious cooking made him a mysterious sensation. Chang eventually opened his first restaurant in Charlottesville, and it quickly became a hit. He opened others, including his first local location in 2015 in the busy strip mall on N. Harrison Street in Arlington.

Peter Chang Arlington remains popular today, along with the other acclaimed restaurants he’s opened over the last decade.

NiHao Arlington will be restaurant 15 when it starts serving in the months ahead. And there are more restaurant openings ahead. Plans are already in the works for other Chang eateries in McLean and Herndon.

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